ICC Opens Second Investigation into Central African Republic
On September 24, 2014 Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), announced in a press release her decision to open a second investigation in the Central African Republic (CAR). Pursuant to Arts. 13(a) and 14 of the Rome Statute, the transitional government of CAR referred its situation “regarding crimes allegedly committed on CAR territory since 1 August 2012” to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). Once such a State Party referral is received, the Prosecutor opens a preliminary examination, according to Article 18, to assess whether the OTP can proceed with an investigation. In accordance with article 53(1), the Prosecutor’s office conducted an independent preliminary examination and concluded that
[t]he information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that both the Séléka and the anti-balaka groups have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, rape, forced displacement, persecution, pillaging, attacks against humanitarian missions and the use of children under fifteen in combat. The list of atrocities is endless. I cannot ignore these alleged crimes, [Prosecutor Bensouda stated].
Article 53(1) Report of the Situation in the Central African Republic II outlines the scope of preliminary examination conducted by the OTP, which includes analysis of the preconditions to Court’s jurisdiction, the Court’s subject-matter jurisdiction over the alleged crimes, the admissibility issues articulated in Article 17, and the overall interest of justice. The conclusions of the preliminary examination provided reasonable basis for the OTP to initiate an investigation. You may follow the developments in both situations on the Court’s website:
I’m grateful to Prof. Olejnikova for this post. This is an important development for the ICC. This is now the ninth authorized “situation” the ICC is investigating since the Rome Statute entered into force in 2002, and it is the fifth arising from a self-referral by a State Party to the Rome Statute. (Of the other four situations, two resulted from referrals by the U.N. Security Council, and two were initiated by the ICC Prosecutor, acting proprio motu.)
All nine current situations are on the African continent. As Prof. Olejnikova reported in a previous post, the ICC is conducting a preliminary examination regarding the violence in Ukraine. Pending further decisions, this could result in the first ICC authorized investigation into a situation in Europe.
The C.A.R. first referred the situation in its country to the ICC in 2005. It is regrettable for the people of the C.A.R. that they continue to suffer from strife and violence in their country. All people of good will must hope that the ICC’s renewed involvement, along with other efforts, will help to bring peace and an end to the suffering of innocent victims in the C.A.R.